Charisma Caucus

Macron and Malaise: Why the French 'Settled'

French President Emmanuel Macron
(Reuters photo)

What should American citizens think of Emmanuel Macron and the impact he will have as the next president of France? His outsider status, entrenched opposition and imprecise political platform may create the perfect storm for France to continue marching in place, according to a new essay in Religion & Liberty Transatlantic.

"The French don't like change; they like what's new," writes Christophe Foltzenlogel, a jurist for the European Centre for Law and Justice (the counterpart to the ACLJ, founded by Jay Sekulow). How does that apply to Macron, someone whose short tenure in the outgoing socialist administration left him virtually anonymous and whose new En Marche political movement is just over one year old?

Foltzenlogel wrote:

Many French citizens ... gave up on the false distinction between parties of the right and left this election because, in the end, officials from across the spectrum pushed forward the further regimentation of the economy. François Mitterrand, Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande all adjusted our country to the European common market and, by extension, to the will of the European Union's political leadership in Brussels. As Philippe Séguin, a former French minister for social affairs and employment said once: "Right and left are retailers going to the same wholesaler, the EU."

If both parties move in generally the same direction of increased economic regulation by global governance structures, why not anoint a charismatic neophyte without any political baggage? Macron, a dedicated Europhile, campaigned on accelerating this process, underscoring his resolve by making his acceptance speech on Sunday after playing the Anthem of Europe.

However, Foltzenlogel writes, there is more to regret. "The campaign was disappointing, because it never offered a vision of national purpose," he writes. Furthermore:

Those particularly concerned about the moral, ethical and philosophical foundations of a free society would deem this election a complete disaster. At no point were the issues of demography, life, family or freedom of religion and conscience on the political agenda. The only issue contained in these themes that made it to the final debate was surrogacy (and what Macron said was not reassuring).

Macron used the issue to call for the further expansion of the French welfare state. Lauren Collins of The New Yorker summarized his response: "She was a heedless baby-killer, happy to let children 'die in the street' rather than give them certain benefits if they weren't French citizens."

Foltzenlogel proceeds to break down the precise reasons why he believes Macron's five-year term as president will bring more malaise to France. You can read his full analysis here.

Rev. Ben Johnson is Senior Editor at the Acton Institute.

This article was originally published at Acton.org. Used with permission.


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